Just about two weeks ago Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a law banning all drivers from texting while behind the wheel. The law, a result of intense lobbying by safe-driving advocates and families of loved ones lost in fatal accidents caused by distracted drivers, will take effect in October of this year. The ban covers writing and reading e-mail, Internet searching, and other non-calling activities on a phone, laptop, or handheld electronic device by anyone operating a motor vehicle.
Coincidentally I am eligible for an upgrade from my cell phone provider this October and as a smart phone holder for just about a year now I have a decision to make – do I replace my current smart phone with a new more enhanced version that I will have to refrain from using the majority of it’s “smart” capabilities while sitting in traffic or do I cut my monthly cell phone bill by more than half and revert back to a Zack Morris-esque cell phone that allows you to only call or text.
I originally got a smart phone when I was working from home and did not want to be chained to my desk all day. I was able to write and receive emails from anywhere. If I wanted to spend the day at the beach, I didn’t have to neglect my work. If my brother needed me to babysit my nephews for a few hours during the work day, I just took the phone with me. A plus was that the company I worked for paid the hefty bill that was associated with my smart phone.
Times have changed though, I no longer work from home, I actually no longer even work for that company anymore. I am now at my desk 7.5 hours a day with absolutely no need for the email function of my phone. I don’t tweet, I hardly ever mobile upload, and I never use the GPS function, as for some of the other applications like Google Search and People.Com they were only downloaded out of pure boredom and are used only when I am sitting in traffic and need a distraction besides the radio.
Though it seems more and more people are replacing their cell phones with smartphones I think I am headed in the opposite direction. For the less than 10 minutes a day I use my smartphone features now I could save myself nearly $40 a month and keep myself on the right side of the law by replacing it with one that only doesn’t even give me the option to be distracted on the road.
Are you paying too much for your cell phone? Could you live without your smartphone? More importantly, will you be able to stop texting/emailing from behind the wheel come October?